Quest for a Culture of Life in America with Steve Koob

Steve Koob, founder and executive director of One More Soul, hosts a weekly program in which he interviews some of the people making a significant contribution to the Culture of Life. The hope and prayer is that Radio Maria listeners will be inspired by these guests, and will find ways that they too can foster a Culture of Life in their community, Church, and family.

June 16, 2015 – Our Lady Needs You Now!

The Blessed Mother of God, in her role as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin, told Sister Mary Ephrem (http://www.ourladyofamerica.org/messages.php)


“to draw a picture of her first appearance. She also requested a statue made according to this likeness and placed, after being solemnly carried in procession, in the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. She wishes to be honored there in a special way as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin.(Oct 13, 1956, p9)    To my spiritual director, I was asked to send this message: 

“Hurry, my son, for the time is short but the punishment will be long, and for many, forever. “Tell the Bishops of the United States, my loyal sons, of my desires and how I wish them to be carried out. Through him who is head over you, make known the longings of my Immaculate Heart to establish the reign of my Divine Son in the hearts of men and thus save them from the scourge of heaven, both now and hereafter.”     Our Lady, again addressing herself to me, spoke sadly yet hopefully: 

“My daughter, will my children in America listen to my pleadings and console my Immaculate Heart? Will my loyal sons carry out my desires and thus help me bring the peace of Christ once again to mankind?   Pray and do penance, my sweet child, that this may come to pass. Trust me and love me; I so desire it. Do not forget your poor Mother, who weeps over the loss of so many of her children.”(Jan, 1957, p9-10)

Pope Francis will be at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington on Wednesday, September 23rd.  This will be an opportune moment to grant Our Lady’s request that her statue be solemnly carried in procession into the Shrine and permanently placed there to honor her as Our Lady of America, the Immaculate Virgin. PLEASE write to Pope Francis asking him to lead the procession into the Basilica as our Lady requested—>    

    His Holiness, Pope Francis

    c/o Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

    Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.A.

    3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

    Washington, D.C. 20008-3610

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June 09, 2015 – Father Richard Cipolla recaps Sacred Liturgy Conference

Father Cipolla was one of the principal organizers of the Sacra Liturgia USA 2015  Conference in which I had the good fortune to participate last week.  I wish that it could be possible to convey the full significance of this event in which over 300 participated–over half being priests and seminarians.  The presentations were excellent and clearly demonstrated the necessity for Liturgical reform and the fruits that would be consequent to growth in both the Novus Ordo and Extraordinary forms of the Liturgy.

I will be asking Father Richard these questions:

 

  • Was the SL2015  Conference a success?  What objectives were met? Any disappointments?
  • Recognizing that there is already considerable variety in the Novus Ordo Liturgy as celebrated in the US, what reforms would you consider most in need of “standardization” and how might that be accomplished most rapidly??
  • Is the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy already quite “standardized”? What (if any) reforms would you consider desirable?
  • What did you see, hear or observe that most surprised you?
  • It would be wonderful if the SLUSA2015 excitement could be continued with future events in the US. Is anything in the works? Do you have any suggestions for doing that?
 
I’ll also ask him to summarize the excellent presentation he made, “Liturgy as the Source of Priestly Identity”–which answers the question, “What is the most important function/purpose of the priest”.

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May 05, 2015 – Roy Schoeman–Catholic Liturgy’s Roots in Judaism Liturgy

Radio Maria listeners may already be well acquainted with Roy Schoeman who hosts “Salvation is from the Jews”, educating listeners on the many foundational connections between Judaism and Catholicism.  He is a convert from orthodox Judaism to Catholicism.  His fascinating conversion story and information about his book Salvation is from the Jews may be found at SalvationisfromtheJews.com.
Roy was born in a suburb of New York City of “Conservative” Jewish parents who had fled Nazi Germany.  His Jewish education and formation was received under some of the most prominent Rabbis in contemporary American Jewry, including Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, probably the foremost Conservative Rabbi in the U.S. and his hometown Rabbi growing up. His secular education included a B.Sc. from M.I.T. and an M.B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard Business School. Midway through a career of teaching and consulting (he had been appointed to the faculty of the Harvard Business School) he experienced an unexpected and instantaneous conversion to Christianity which led to a dramatic refocus of his activities. Since then he has pursued theological studies at several seminaries, helped produce and host a Catholic Television talk show, and edited and written for several Catholic books and reviews.  
This week’s program is intended to acquaint us with the Jewish religious beliefs and practices, especially those that form the basis/model for much of what we recognize as Catholic Liturgy and rituals. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) this is very important, “A better knowledge of the Jewish people’s faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy”(CCC 1096).*
 
We will also be talking about From the Kippah to the Cross, A Jew’s Conversion to Catholicism, by  Jean-Marie Elie Setbon, Ignatius Press, 2015, which I found to be exceptionally captivating and educating.  For example, I did not realize:
  • there were so many varieties of Judaism–not unlike Christianity, and even Catholicism with its many Rites;
  • Jews so hated (not too strong a word, it seems) a convert to Catholicism–not unlike the Muslims;
  • God could be so persistent and patient in hunting for one of His lost sheep;
  • there was a Jewish process for finding one’s spouse–somewhere between arranged marriage and speed-dating;
  • “Judaism and Christianity”–the concluding chapter–have so much in common yet are still so far apart.
I highly recommend it, so do your Catholic bookstore a favor and order from them.

This program’s principle purpose is to understand the Jewish roots of the Liturgy–Mass.  Ancient peoples recognized a higher power that needed to be pleased/honored/worshiped/thanked/feared for their well-being.  I presume that the Jewish Liturgy rests on that foundation and is a bridge to the Catholic Liturgy.  

I’ll be asking Roy to teach us:

  • how Jewish Tradition and Torah defined the first Century Catholic Mass;
  • the commonality between Jewish rituals and Mass rituals;
  • what (if anything) has been lost (and gained?) during two Millennia of Liturgical development.
My intense interest in the Liturgy is a recent phenomenon, but precipitated by a comment from friend and Oby/Gyn Dr Lorna Cvetkovitch, a dozen years ago, “If we don’t get the Liturgy right , we will never have a Culture of life”. 
I am very eager to learn what Roy believes is needed to have the Liturgy be “right”?  I pray you are too!

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April 28, 2015 – Human Life International is leading the pro-life/family/marriage. How are they doing?

Fr Shenan Bouquet has been at the helm of Human Life International (HLI) for almost four years.  Why did he get tapped to lead this premier international apostolate by traveling around the world spreading the Gospel of Life as HLI’s president? He was ordained in 1993 and is a priest of the Houma-Thibodaux Roman Catholic Diocese in Louisiana, his home state, where he served before joining HLI in August 2011.
Fr. Boquet has already traveled nearly 500,000 miles to 26 countries, speaking at numerous international conferences.  He probably has had hundreds of interesting experiences in very diverse cultures that share our common Faith.  I am looking forward to asking him many questions, like:
·         Please give us some examples of the work you and your US staff do to support in-country pro-life efforts.  Please share some good news from the major areas of the world where HLI is making a difference.
·         Our government is promoting contraception, abortion, sterilization, same-sex “marriage” at home and abroad–the complete opposite of the teachings of the Catholic Church and the ministry of HLI.  Can you share some examples of US Government efforts and HLI’s counter efforts?  Who wins in these encounters?
·         Catholics and other Christians are being persecuted in some way in most parts of the world–including the USA.  How does that persecution affect your efforts to promote a Culture of Life?  Are your people at risk in Africa and the Middle East from Islamic terrorists?
·         In his encyclical Ecclesiam suam, Pope Saint Paul VI encouraged dialogue with all peoples including Muslims, granting Islam a comparable stature to Christianity and Judaism.  Popes John Paul II and Francis (and Benedict XVI?) have also reached out to the Muslims.  I suspect that some/many of our listeners are confused by this courting of a religion that is (and throughout history, has been) so often extremely hostile to Christians.  How does HLI deal with this seeming disparity?
·         We have had a series of Guests on this program discussing Liturgy–promoting a reform of the reform that followed VCII.  Msgr Ignacio Barrerio, Executive Director of the HLI Rome Office, made a case for a connection between Liturgical reform and the Defense of Human Life.  Do you find more traditional forms of the Liturgy prevalent in some of the countries you visit?  Do you see a stronger pro-life culture in those countries?  Is Mass celebrated ad orientum common in any country you know of?
·         The Conclusion to Msgr Barrerio’s Sacra Liturgia 2013 paper, “Sacred Liturgy and the Defense of Human Life”, was sooo encouraging in the eventual acceptance of God’s Truth and the consequent demise of the Culture of Death. Give us signs of hope!

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April 21, 2015 – Our Liturgy Series continues

Q.  Why are we having so many Guests on the Liturgy? 
A.  Because the FIRST GREAT COMMANDMENT says,  “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’38“This is the great and foremost commandment. (Matt 22:37-38)
 
Also, the Church commands us to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass–the Liturgy–on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation.  How we worship our God matters.  Our worship of God should be as perfect as humanly possible.  And so our Quest is for that most perfect Liturgy, and we look to Liturgists (students of Liturgy) for guidance.
 
Another reason is the oft quoted statement from Vatican Council II, “The Eucharist [Liturgy] is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.'(LG11)”(CCC1324)
 
Dom Alcuin Reid is one of the foremost experts on the Liturgy in the world today. He is a monk of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France. After studies in Theology and in Education in Melbourne, Australia, he was awarded a PhD from King’s College, University of London, for a thesis on twentieth century liturgical reform (2002), which was subsequently published as ‘The Organic Development of the Liturgy’ with a preface by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Ignatius, 2005; trans. ‘Lo sviluppo organico della Liturgia’, Cantagalli, 2013). 
 
Dom Alcuin is at the center of the new liturgical movement called for by Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), promoting an authentic interpretation of the Second Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform within a hermeneutic of continuity, a critical assessment of its implementation and of the need for a reform of the reform. 

Dom Alcuin was the principal organizer of Sacra Liturgia 2013, the international conference on the role liturgical formation and celebration in the life and mission of the Church in Rome in June 2013 and edited its proceedings ‘Sacred Liturgy: The Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church’ (Ignatius, 2014).  
 
He is one of the principal organizers of Sacra Liturgia USA 2015 Conference in NYC, June 1-4 and will be telling us why this event is so important.

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April 14, 2015 – How to spend “Nine Months with Jesus in Mary’s Womb”

Josh Danis is the Archdiocese of Cincinnati Family and Respect Life Office Coordinator for the Northern Area of the diocese. In that position he has authored an exciting new program for helping all Christians appreciate the dignity of each human brother and sister.  His program draws our attention to Jesus the God-fetus during the 9 months He lived within Mary.

This initiative develops over 9 months from the Incarnation to the Nativity– March 25th to December 25th.  The materials are available at the Archdiocesan web site–http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/ministries-offices/family-life/respect-life/respect-life-coordinators/nine-months-with-christ-in-the-womb/  and include:
  • A “Dear Jesus of the Womb” prayer card with a depiction of Jesus in the womb on the other side.  How can you recognize the baby as Jesus?  (See PS for the answer.)
  • A monthly reflection on Jesus’ physical development tied to a Biblical story and a current situation where the dignity of human life is not universally accepted.
  • A brief bulletin announcement for each week of the month.
Parishes are encouraged to purchase the prayer cards and distribute them at every opportunity, publish the Monthly Reflection one weekend of the month, and include the bulletin announcement each week.  The primary purpose of this Respect Life Campaign is to foster prayer for a universal appreciation of the dignity of life at all stages and conditions.
Please join Josh and me to learn more about this innovative and non-controversial approach to protecting vulnerable children, women and men.  I am eager to learn what 9 issues are featured in this Prayer Campaign and how well it is being received throughout the Archdiocese of  Cincinnati.  It seems like it is a program that can be easily adapted to other dioceses.

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March 24, 2015 – Fr Joseph Fessio, SJ

Father Fessio  has many significant accomplishments to his credit.  He has gone from Civil Engineering student to study and teach philosophy and theology as a Jesuit priest. He is an igniter and leader having founded Campion College of San Francisco, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, The Catholic World Report and Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy.  He has been a guide for Ave Maria University as Chancellor, Provost and Theologian in Residence.
 
I want to get his opinion on many controversies in today’s Church and society:

  • The Liturgy–where is it headed?
  • AD of San Francisco teacher contracts–too far or not far enough?
  • Personhood Amendments that focus on natural law rather than judicial overreach–do they have a chance?
  • Pope Francis–innovative, unfocused, dangerous?
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict–how has he changed from when he was your major professor for theology doctorate to reigning and resigning pope?
  • Cardinals: Burke, Kaspar, Pell, and others regarding reception of Holy communion for those in irregular relationships?
  • Catholic press and media–how are Ignatius Press and other publishers doing?
 

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